Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle
Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle

* Part 1: Day of the Tentacle: synopsis and features

* Part 2: Team members Part 1

* Part 3: Team members Part 2

* Part 4: Character sketches by Larry Ahern

* Part 5: Artwork by Peter Chan

* Part 6: The Making of Day of the Tentacle

* Part 7: Releases and related versions

The Making of Day of the Tentacle

Schafer and Grossman (in front of sketches DOTT)
Tim Schafer and David Grossman became the project leaders of Day of the Tentacle, with a budget around $600,000. Ron Gilbert, their project manager on Monkey Island II, thought they were ready to become project leads. They were relieved that a sequel to Maniac Mansion was proposed, so they didn't have to create a completely original game as newly appointed leads.

Together with Gilbert and Winnick they discussed various ideas, and they liked the idea of a time travel game as suggested by Gilbert.

  Peter Chan and Larry Ahern in 2016
They brought in Larry Ahern and Peter Chan to do the art, who had worked before on Monkey Island II. By creating their designs they had to take into account the limitations of the hard and software: a 320x200 resolution and 5 floppy discs' worth of storage space.

The team became bigger in time, and as a consequence it was decided not to put no credits in the intro, for otherwise it would look like watching at a bunch of stills with names on it.

Hal Barwood in 1985
  Kyle Balda
The intro was done by Kyle Balda, an intern at Cal Arts, who was still in school. The intro was originally seven minutes, and Hal Barwood (LucasArts' game designer, i.a project leader on Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis) said it was way too long, so they cut it in half (the credits include "Opening fixed by Hal Barwood").
  Character selection in MM
Originally they had six characters in mind and like in Maniac Mansion the player could choose 3 characters, with different puzzles and stuff depending on who the player chose. They cut it down to three in order to maintain their sanity, mainly considering all the animation that it would require. The permutations of animating all those actions for six characters would probably have killed them.

According to Gilbert bad horror movies were the game's spiritual origin. Winnick and Gilbert tried to pull every cliché they could think of into the game and really make fun of the genre. Everyone in it was a stereotype.

Gilbert's time travel idea was implemented by having the three main characters scattered across time periods because of a faulty time machine. As time periods they focused on the Revolutionary War episode and the future, which episodes would become related: changing the Constitution would effect the future.

Marketing and Management thought that Including a part of the USA constitution with figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin wasn't going to sell, as no one would know who Benjamin Franklin was outside the USA. They were wrong.

Turning DOTT into a "talkie" happened midway through production, bringing in talented voice actors like Nick Jameson and Danny Delk on board, and (WKRP in Cincinnati's) Richard Sanders as Bernard. The decision to add voiced dialog was just made by somebody looking at the numbers of sales of CD-ROM drives and what was in the common household, so that was the thing they should go after.

Tamlynn Barra
There were 4500 spoken lines in the game, according to a feature in CGW. The voice recording was done at Hollywood's Studio 222. Tamlynn Barra directed the voice-acting (like she had done for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis).

Responsible for the music were Clint Bajakian, Michael Land and Peter McConnell.

Michael Land wasn't satisfied with the audio system he had to use in developing the soundtrack to Monkey Island I and, together with Peter McConnell, he developed a (patented) system that would become the de facto audio system for all future Lucasarts games. The system was called "iMUSE" (Interactive Music Streaming Engine). The rationale to develop it was to make it possible hat the music could be changed dynamically depending on the events that occurred within the game. The trick was to do this as seamless as possible so the player wouldn't notice any jarring changes in music.

  Clint Bajakian, Michael Land and Peter McConnell
The composers split the job for DOTT. Land did the future, McConnell mostly of the present (and the Dr. Fred pieces for the past), and Bajakian most of the past. The intro music was based on the third section of Rossini's Wilhelm Tell overture ("Call to the Dairy Cows"). A parody in itself, as the music was used in countless cartoons and movies to indicate a state of blissful innocence. Some Bernard pieces remind of Kelzmer music. Connell considered Bernard as a Woody Allen parody, especially with his glasses.10 Like Woody Allen in Sleeper, Bernard's instrument is generally the clarinet.

Notes here.

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(c) All artwork copyright LucasArts
(c) Text 2020